What the GOP Doesn’t Understand About Its Own Voters

The Senate Republican health-care bill has been repeatedly crushed in a slow-motion collision between the party’s historic ideology and the interests of its modern electoral coalition. Yet congressional Republicans appear determined to plow right through the wreckage. …

Both the House and Senate legislation seemed hatched in a time warp. In their determination to slash taxes for top earners, torch regulations on insurers, and to roll back federal spending on expanded insurance coverage (either through the private exchanges or Medicaid), each bill reflected the common Ronald Reagan-era Republican belief that their coalition is bound together above all by a determination to shrink government.

But since then, Republicans have grown increasingly dependent on blue-collar, older, and non-urban white voters who do not always agree that “government is the problem,” as Reagan declared. While these voters, many of them economically strained, remain deeply skeptical of programs like food stamps that shift resources to those they consider undeserving, they have shown much more tolerance for federal spending that financially supports people like them. CONT.

Ron Brownstein, The Atlantic